59ºF

East Side family loses home, belongings to wind-driven fire

Father believes special needs child started blaze

SAN ANTONIO – An East Side family's home was destroyed by a wind-driven fire Sunday afternoon.

The couple and their two children who lived at the home are now displaced just days before Christmas. They said they believe it was an accident caused by a family member.

Thomas Woodard, Brittany Johnson and their two boys, ages 6 and 5, lost their home and about $15,000 worth of personal belongings to fire, smoke and water damage.

Woodard believes his special-needs child started the blaze by playing with a space heater.

"My 5-year-old say that he threw a towel in the stove and he threw it in the closet and I heard the smoke alarm," Woodard said.

"By the time I went in there and look, I just opened the window and I was just trying to fan it because it smelled like plastic. Next thing you know just a whole big old fire in the back."

The family already struggles caring for the 6-year-old with autism.

"I'm feeling very, very disturbed right now because I was at work, you know," Johnson said. "He has autism. He needs a provider 24/7, you know? If I don't have no help with that, you know, it's like what can I do? I have to work to put food on the table and stuff."

"Absolutely a huge loss. So anything community can do to help them, you know," San Antonio FD Battalion Chief Connie Hall said. "None of their clothes and shoes will be good because of the smoke damage and fire from inside the house."

The Red Cross is assisting the family, but they're left figuring out what to do in the long run.

"Just have faith in God. That's all we can do," Johnson said.

No one was injured in the fire. The family says it will be looking into fundraising efforts to help recover.